WASHINGTON: The US said on Friday it remained uncertain if a nuclear deal with Iran can be revived after the EU gave an upbeat assessment of a trip to Tehran.
A State Department spokesperson voiced appreciation for envoy Enrique Mora’s visit but added: “That said, at this point a deal remains far from certain.”
The spokesperson said: “Iran needs to decide whether it insists on extraneous conditions and whether it wants to conclude a deal quickly, which we believe would serve all sides’ interests.
“We and our partners are ready, and have been for some time. It’s now up to Iran.”
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell earlier said in Germany that stalled negotiations with Iran have been “reopened” after Mora’s trip.
US President Joe Biden favors returning to the accord scrapped by his predecessor Donald Trump but he has rejected a number of demands of Iran, notably removing the powerful Revolutionary Guards from a US terrorism blacklist.
Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the Group of Seven major economies in Germany, Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign policy, said an EU envoy visited Tehran this week for talks that had “gone better than expected.”
Borrell said: “The negotiations have been stalled for two months due to this disagreement about what to do with the Revolutionary Guard.”
Borrell added: “These kind of things cannot be solved overnight, but let’s say the negotiations were blocked and they have been deblocked. Which means there is a perspective of reaching agreement.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian echoed Borrell’s assessment, saying on Twitter that the discussions between the EU envoy and Iran’s negotiator “were another opportunity to focus on initiatives to resolve the remaining issues.”
“A good and reliable outcome is within reach if US makes its decision & adheres to its commitments,” Abdollahian wrote.
Meanwhile, Mora said on Friday that he was briefly detained with colleagues at Frankfurt Airport while transiting from Tehran to Brussels, in breach of diplomatic rules.
Mora said he had received “not a single explanation” from German authorities for why he was detained.
“An EU official on an official mission holding a Spanish diplomatic passport. Took out my passport and my phones,” he wrote on Twitter.
He said the EU ambassador to the UN in Vienna and the head of the EU’s Iran task force were also detained.
“We were kept separated,” Mora wrote.
“Refusal to give any explanation for what seems a violation of the Vienna Convention.”
German federal police said the three diplomats were singled out for checks by a computerized system due to their travel from Tehran, rather than any information about them as individuals.
They were released after 40 minutes, police said.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.